Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.

Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 25th, 2012, 7:05 pm

Sorry, I've been distracted by other projects for the past couple weeks and am only just now getting caught up on a number of threads and discussions.

Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:The thing is that I don't think οράω should be an activity at all.

Well, what do you think it is?

I would anticipate that its a state.
Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:If you're going to do this project the first thing you're going to want to do is gather a collection of adverbs for testing collocation. I would anticipate that οράω does not collocate with adverbs like "vigorously" or "quickly" and thus cannot be an activity.

I think the idea of what Jonathan is doing is to churn the waters and get people to propose / debate / dispute the methodology and tests. So, is your test for an activity collocation with adverbs like "vigorously" or "quickly"? Is this test described in the literature?

Those are actually two separate test. Van Valin (2005, 35ff; http://bit.ly/MTUBQY ) has a pretty good summary of the tests along with the caveats that go along with the tests.

Greek doesn't have the same kind of variety in adverbs that English has. However, I think that instances of μέγας where it modifies the verb (and its adverbial derivative μεγάλως) might be useful for testing for dynamic predicates, as in 1 Kingdoms 10:2:
1 Kingdoms 10:2 wrote:εὑρήσεις δύο ἄνδρας πρὸς τοῖς τάφοις Ῥαχὴλ ἐν τῷ ὄρει Βενιαμεὶν ἁλλομένους μεγάλα
"You will find two men at the tomb of Rachel on the mount of Benjamin jumping vigorously."

I just came across this a few days ago. Unfortunately, since μέγας/μεγάλως technically expresses degree, it isn't to activities. As L&N says:
L&N 78.2 wrote:In a number of languages the expression of intense degree associated with some activity or state is expressed by means of a verb, not an adverb. . . .
.
With that said, I think its pretty clear when μέγας/μεγάλως has dynamic meaning and when doesn't, at least in translation. Stative predicates prefer a translation that involves "very" or some variation (e.g. "to be very glad")whereas non-stative predicates tend toward other interpretations (e.g. "to roar tremendously" or "to welcome heartily).
Stephen Carlson wrote:(I'm also not sure if the state-activity distinction is as important for Greek as it is for English.)

That's entirely possible, but it is something that would require testing to determine for sure. I'm suspicious, though. It's pretty clear that the Greek lexicon has allowed for the formation of distinct prototypical verbs expressing to be and to do. At the same time, the fact that μέγας can be used with both activities and states might suggest you're right. It's a little extreme of a view for me though. I would still expect that some verbs are more state-like and others are more activity-like.

And now that I think about it, I'd probably also want to talk about some kind of schematic structure for μέγας/μεγάλως in its adverbial usage with a degree schema that is realized a different prototype structure on the basis of the aktionsart class of the predication.

Jonathan Robie wrote:And is there a list of adverbs that you would suggest? Or do we have to develop these as well?

Well, I've made a start above with one, but that's just one. This is something I've started before. Peter Stork has some suggestions about some other tests in his monograph The Dynamic Infinitive that are useful for written texts without native speakers. I'll see if I can find the time to dig those out again. The book is probably in Duke's library...
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2012, 8:00 pm

MAubrey wrote:Sorry, I've been distracted by other projects for the past couple weeks and am only just now getting caught up on a number of threads and discussions.


Glad to have you back!

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
MAubrey wrote:The thing is that I don't think οράω should be an activity at all.

Well, what do you think it is?

I would anticipate that its a state.


OK, Fanning says that verbs of perception are states for passive reception but activities for actively directing attention. Like βλέπω, I think that ὁράω can be used for both.

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Those are actually two separate test. Van Valin (2005, 35ff; http://bit.ly/MTUBQY ) has a pretty good summary of the tests along with the caveats that go along with the tests.


Thanks. I should have known you were going to mention Van Valin, whose book I had to return when I graduated.

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:(I'm also not sure if the state-activity distinction is as important for Greek as it is for English.)

That's entirely possible, but it is something that would require testing to determine for sure. I'm suspicious, though. It's pretty clear that the Greek lexicon has allowed for the formation of distinct prototypical verbs expressing to be and to do. At the same time, the fact that μέγας can be used with both activities and states might suggest you're right. It's a little extreme of a view for me though. I would still expect that some verbs are more state-like and others are more activity-like.


The state vs. non-state distinction is vitally important for English, I'll grant you that. But for Greek, Corien Bary's dissertation on Greek aspect makes the claim that it isn't, instead that boundedness is important, and I haven't been able to come up with any evidence that the interpretation of Greek verbal inflections is sensitive to stativity. Heck, even habitual interpretations of states are possible in Greek. Rather, the key parameters for the Greek aspect system seem to be telicity (or boundedness) and durativity, not stativity. In my opinion, English and Greek just happen to be sensitive to different features that characterize situation types.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 25th, 2012, 9:32 pm

Telicity is, of course, very central to Greek morphology. But I'm unconvinced that you can rank the categories on the basis of the "importance." With that said, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the word anyway. Perhaps, you could clarify?

As for perception verbs. I suppose I can see, now, why Rijksbaron as well as Sicking and Stork make volitionality a feature in their system, which seems to work rather well for the distinction of senses for these two verbs βλέπω and ὀράω. Strikingly, too, if BDAG is accurate, I would say that ὁράω varies in its usage on the basis of its transitivity, which tells me that while Greek does not have distinct lexemes, "see" vs. "look," the differentiation is still there. BDAG's transitive uses are states and its intransitive are non-states. The entry for βλέπω mixes things up a lot more. I'd be curious about what a detailed semantic/lexical study would reveal.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2012, 10:12 pm

MAubrey wrote:Telicity is, of course, very central to Greek morphology. But I'm unconvinced that you can rank the categories on the basis of the "importance." With that said, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the word anyway. Perhaps, you could clarify?


I'm not really ranking them but noting which categories seem to make a grammatical difference, and which don't. Just like gender is important in Greek adjective-noun concord, but not in English. I know stativity makes a difference in interpreting the English present and preterite, but I haven't seen any reason to think that stativity works that way for Greek imperfect and aorist.

Stephen
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2012, 10:16 pm

MAubrey wrote:As for perception verbs. I suppose I can see, now, why Rijksbaron as well as Sicking and Stork make volitionality a feature in their system, which seems to work rather well for the distinction of senses for these two verbs βλέπω and ὀράω. Strikingly, too, if BDAG is accurate, I would say that ὁράω varies in its usage on the basis of its transitivity, which tells me that while Greek does not have distinct lexemes, "see" vs. "look," the differentiation is still there. BDAG's transitive uses are states and its intransitive are non-states. The entry for βλέπω mixes things up a lot more. I'd be curious about what a detailed semantic/lexical study would reveal.


I'm hoping to get my hands on Rijkbaron's Aristotle piece soon. Sicking and Stork view "control" (volition) as important for interpreting the perfect, but I doubt if it can be generalized to other aspects.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 27th, 2012, 12:01 am

Stephen Carlson wrote: I know stativity makes a difference in interpreting the English present and preterite, but I haven't seen any reason to think that stativity works that way for Greek imperfect and aorist.


No, but it does for the perfect vs. the present. When you want stative meaning, writers will nearly invariably prefer a perfect middle γεγράπται over γράπται--which is clear evidence of the avoidance of progressive meaning for stative predicates.

Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm hoping to get my hands on Rijkbaron's Aristotle piece soon. Sicking and Stork view "control" (volition) as important for interpreting the perfect, but I doubt if it can be generalized to other aspects.


Indeed. Personally, at its best, their proposal is more complicated for Koine Greek than it needs, at its worse, its more complicated for Ancient Greek in general than needed.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 27th, 2012, 9:09 am

MAubrey wrote:No, but it does for the perfect vs. the present. When you want stative meaning, writers will nearly invariably prefer a perfect middle γεγράπται over γράπται--which is clear evidence of the avoidance of progressive meaning for stative predicates.


Good point.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby cwconrad » June 27th, 2012, 12:47 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote: I know stativity makes a difference in interpreting the English present and preterite, but I haven't seen any reason to think that stativity works that way for Greek imperfect and aorist.


No, but it does for the perfect vs. the present. When you want stative meaning, writers will nearly invariably prefer a perfect middle γεγράπται over γράπται--which is clear evidence of the avoidance of progressive meaning for stative predicates. ... .


I prefer γέγραπται over γράπται by far -- but I even prefer it over γράφεται.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby MAubrey » June 27th, 2012, 6:25 pm

cwconrad wrote:I prefer γέγραπται over γράπται by far -- but I even prefer it over γράφεται.


This is precisely why I've never bothered to hire a copy editor for my writing. I can always count on Carl to find my goofy mistakes.
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Re: Verb catalog - lexical aspect

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 28th, 2012, 11:43 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm hoping to get my hands on Rijkbaron's Aristotle piece soon.


Well, I got my hands on it, and it's not very helpful to our discussion. It basically assumes, as its point of departure, Simon Dik's 1978 classification of states of affairs, and it tries to refine Dik's notion of "dynamic" on Aristotelian terms (as [+/- Change] which he says corresponds to Aristotle's distinction between κινήσεις and ἐνεργεῖαι in his Metaphysis). All the examples and tests are in English. It is not a work of Greek grammar.
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